Beginning today, Florida State baseball will begin its quest to capture the ACC Tournament title for the second consecutive year. They entered the 2015 tournament as a No. 4 seed, the same seed earned this year. After a series of play-in games on Tuesday, the 'Noles now know it opponents for the pool play portion of the tourney.
Later today, at 11 AM EST, FSU (34-19, 16-10) will take on NC State (34-18, 15-13), a fifth seed, in each team's first game of the postseason. The two teams had a three game series scheduled in Tallahassee earlier this season, however due to weather, were only able to get in one game in which the Seminoles were victorious by a final score of 8-5. In that victory, the 'Noles chased out the Wolfpack starter in less than an inning, scoring five runs. This time, they will see a different pitcher take the mound as lefty Cory Wilder (3-3, 4.91) gets the nod. He has thrown 47 2/3 innings thus far with 32 strikeouts and has not had much success locating the ball, handing out 24 walks and 12 wild pitches. For FSU, Drew Carlton (6-3, 4.07) gets the start, his team leading 15th of the season. Unlike his opponent, Carlton has done pretty well commanding his pitches in 73 innings, striking out 64 batters while walking 22. The sophomore has also not thrown a single wild pitch in 2016.
The very next day at 3 PM, Florida State will take on Georgia Tech (36-20, 13-16) after the Yellow Jackets defeated Boston College 6-0 on Tuesday. The 'Noles hosted a then 12-0 GT in March, sweeping the visitors convincingly by outscoring the Jackets 30-14 over the weekend. FSU projected starter for Thursday, Cole Sands (4-5, 4.08), faced GT during that series on Sunday, throwing 5 1/3 innings while giving up three runs and striking out five en rout to his third victory of the series. The FSU bats will want to get going early, as they have had great success against the Yellow Jackets' bullpen, scoring 18 runs in 11 1/3 innings off of them.
To close out pool play, the Seminoles will see familiar faces as they take on Miami at 3 PM on Saturday. The teams recently played a three game series at Dick Howser with Miami taking the series, winning two games. The Hurricane's projected starter, Michael Mediavilla (10-1, 3.24), thew six innings in that series, allowing three runs and striking out four while earning the win in an eventual 8-5 final. Left hander Tyler Holton (2-3, 2.94) will get a second look vs. Miami, looking to improve on his six strong innings in that meeting, only allowing one run on two hits while striking out eight.
The 'Noles have a lot of ACC Tournament experience on the current roster, including five members of the starting lineup who played in last year's tourney. Ben Deluzio led the title winning team, hitting .533 (8-15) with a homer, five RBI and three steals in the four games. Shortstop Taylor Walls had a nice performance following a sub-par regular season, hitting .333 (3-9) with five walks. Carlton pitched seven scoreless innings in his only appearance, and is the only projected starter with ACC Tournament experience. The other starting lineup members who played were Quincy Nieporte, John Sansone and Dylan Busby.
During the 2016 regular season, Walls led the team with a .477 OBP and John Sansone led with a .372 average to go along with 7 HR and 57 RBI. Rounding up the top three of the order is Freshman Cal Raleigh who hit .313 with nine home runs and was rewarded with a spot on the All-ACC Freshman team following the season.
Every game in the ACC Baseball Tournament will be played at Durham Bulls Athletic Park, home of the Durham Bulls (AAA affiliate of the Tampa Bay Rays), in North Carolina.
All games are available to watch on RSN affiliates or ESPN3